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The Martian Chronicles – by Ray Bradbury

Above is a TV mini-series of The Martian Chronicles from 1980. It includes the worst date on Mars…

The original book by Ray Bradbury was published in 1950, written in the aftermath of WWII and thus directly in the shadow of the evidence of man’s ability to destroy, and long before it was well proven that there isn’t breathable oxygen, canals and ancient cities (on the surface at least) of Mars. Like much of enduring Science Fiction, the location of Mars is a fantasy set – a place to work through the aspirations and conflicts going through the conscious and unconscious minds of society that existed at the time of its writing.

If you were me, reading the original text in Jr. High obsessively between classes it becomes a dreamland, an etherial non-place existing in the minds of the Human and Martian protagonists more than any existing place, which is why it retains interest today.

Here’s where I tell you that Jr. High was the pit of my life and one of the things I remember most is diving into the enormous tome of Ray Bradbury’s collected short stories (forget rats, you could kill an alligator with that thick book) as a way to avoid my classmates. Sadly lacking social skills, those wouldn’t appear until much later.

Ray Bradbury’s work exists in the shadow space between waking and dreaming, between living and dying. It’s a metaphor that we can see ourselves in, which is why it’s still worth reading.

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